City Council to discuss affordable housing funds, Newhall Gateway

More than $1 million could go toward affordable housing in Santa Clarita and direction for the proposed Newhall Gateway conceptual plan could receive a green light as the City Council plans to discuss both matters Tuesday.

At their regular meeting, council members will consider approving the submission of the city’s five-year strategic consolidated plan, annual action plan and analysis to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order to receive funding for lower-income communities in areas such as housing, infrastructure and public services.

Santa Clarita has consistently received an estimated $1.2 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding annually. HUD has not yet released the allocation of funds for the 2019-20 fiscal year but has told the city to plan based on last year’s figures. The estimate for this year is $1,212,260, according to the city staff report.

A snapshot provided by the city on how funding will be adjusted once the allocations are released shows that the bulk of the grant funds would go toward capital projects such as the Senior Center’s Handyworker program and the city’s Disabled Access Infrastructure program at nearly $800,000. Just more than $181,000 would go toward a list of nine public services, which include homeless outreach by Bridge to Home and case management with Fostering Youth Independence. The remaining amount would go toward administration and fair housing services.

All CDBG-funded activities must meet the consolidated plan’s priorities, such as improving and expanding affordable housing. These priorities were determined earlier this year when the city released results for its community needs survey, in which Santa Claritans identified anti-crime efforts, housing and jobs among the top needs citywide.

Newhall Gateway

The City Council will also review and offer direction for the Newhall Gateway conceptual plan, a proposed commercial space near Newhall Avenue and Sierra Highway.  

The project dates back to 2010 with a separate project known as Sierra Crossings, a 99,000-square-foot commercial center proposed in the area of Newhall Avenue. Due to issues with its design and environmental impacts, the applicant withdrew the proposal.

Also in 2010, the City Council directed staff to enter into an agreement with Poliquin Kellogg Design Group to conduct a conceptual design and economic analysis for the entire southeast quadrant at the Newhall Avenue and Sierra Highway intersection, which included the Sierra Crossing site and other parcels. This area is now known as Newhall Gateway, and has been deemed as a “major entry point into the city of Santa Clarita,” according to the staff report.

The Newhall Gateway plan consists of 18.6 acres of land, 75,900 square feet for a hotel, 169,000 square feet for office space and 23,800 square feet for restaurant and retail space.

Since 2010, however, the same quadrant of the project site could “support more than 1.6 million square feet of commercial space and between 334-930 residential units.” Given the constraints of the site, city officials said, such as the neighboring development Needham Ranch, the amount of commercial space and dwelling units would likely be less than the maximum.

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